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Wonder, Awe + Bliss [Ep. 12.2]

Updated: Jun 5, 2021

In this episode, McCall unboxes awe and wonder...

She contemplates the causes and effects of her own limited opportunities to experience awe as a child and endeavors to discover the benefits, and possible downsides of awe.

McCall explores the history of awe and its evolution in society, the sources of awe, it’s power to create social bonds and even provide physical healing.

In an interview with Mike Richardson, a professor of Adolescent Development and Classroom Management (at Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, Utah), McCall hears about his awe-some gratitude for grapes and the Mormon faith. While McCall shares her theory that awe is a form of worship and causes us to create in gratitude of creation/the creator.

With a variety of researchers in the area of awe and gratitude and wonder, we get to know all the facets of awe, meet Jason Silva, a Performative Philosopher, and explore why we don't make much room for AWEsome encounters.

McCall relays the value of boredom in sparking curiosity, and encourages all of us not to worry, because worry leaves us “feeling aw-ful instead of awe-filled.



Psychologists Jennifer Stellar and Piercarlo Valdesolo give an overview of what studies of awe have found, and how psychologists study awe.

Jason Silva is an Emmy-nominated and world renown TV personality, storyteller, filmmaker, futurist, and sought-after keynote speaker. He's known for hosting the global hit series Brain Games & Origins on the National Geographic Channel.

Sympathy, gratitude and awe are universal human experiences which hold society together and enhance physical and mental health. Dacher Keltner explains his research into these emotions at the University of California, Berkeley, and asks how we can create societies which promote them.

TV host and filmmaker Jason Silva believes ecstatic rapture can be an antidote to existential despair -- but how exactly can someone find their daily dose of awe? He recommends performance philosophy: huge ideas condensed into snackable nuggets of content that will blow your mind. (Filmed at TED2012 Global)

Professor Michelle “Lani” Shiota shares how awe is involved in her research. She completed her Ph.D. in Social/Personality Psychology at University of California, Berkeley, in 2003, and then received post-doctoral training in the Berkeley Psychophysiology Lab. She joined the social psychology faculty at ASU in 2006, establishing the Shiota Psychophysiology Laboratory for Affective Testing (a.k.a. SPLAT Lab), which studies human emotions, relationships, and awe.

Vlogger Hank Green explores Awe. (To become a Patreon)

Neuroscientist Beau Lotto conducted an ambitious study on the emotion of awe and its psychological and behavioral benefits. In this talk and live performance, he shares some of their findings -- and stands back as Cirque du Soleil performers create their own awe-inducing spectacle.

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